20 scouts sailed 'Pioneer' on the River Colne in Essex on 20 June, 2015, courtesy of the OGA Youth Fund.
Essex smack 'Pioneer 'is a huge gaffer by OGA standards at 70ft., but the advantage of this was that ten Brightlingsea scouts were able to sail on her in the morning and then swap over so ten more could have a go in the afternoon. East Coast OGA member Judy Harrison was skipper for the day and she started by showing the scouts around the boat. She summarised the history of 'Pioneer'; her working life, her sad decline and then her rescue from the mud. Back on deck the scouts hoisted sails, hauled on sheets, coiled ropes and learnt useful knots with the mate and the bo’sun. They then took charge of the heavy helm of 'Pioneer', in pairs under Judy’s watchful eye.
If there’s one thing 20 youngsters aged 10-14 came away clear on, it was the difference between Bermudan and gaff rig: 'Shiver me timbers' they cried in unison at each passing vessel, but not until they had correctly identified its rig.